Music Lecturer Karen Boe has been practicing the piano since she was five years old. In addition to the piano, she also knows how to play the cello, which she began studying at age 11, and has sung at church and in school.
“My household was busy musically as my four older siblings all studied piano, an instrument, and sang in choir at church,” Boe said. “The Lutheran church in the Midwest has inspired many a student to consider a musical career.”
Boe attended the Juilliard School of Music to receive both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano performance.
“Piano was an instrument that was available to me and heard frequently in my surroundings from the very beginning, plus I had my brothers to inspire me to play more complex pieces,” Boe said.
Boe said she attended the Aspen Music Festival as a 16-year-old piano student.
“Aspen serves as a kind of summer school for Juilliard’s college students, and this was certainly eye opening for me to hear the breadth of repertoire and ability level of the students,” Boe said.
Her inspiration to go on to teach came from both her high school piano instructor from Moorhead State University and her high school English teacher.
“Each person who goes on to teach has one or more influences along the way that open the door to the idea of teaching themselves,” Boe said.
Before she began teaching at UW-Whitewater, she received her doctorate at UW-Madison. She said she took seven years away from teaching at the college level to raise her children before coming to UW-Whitewater.
“Meeting new students and discovering how they learn and grow” has been Karen Boe’s favorite aspect of performing and teaching music. “It is never boring or repetitive,” she said.
Besides teaching, Boe said she performs in a variety of collaborative settings with piano trio, contemporary chamber ensembles like Sonict (UW-Whitewater Contemporary Music Ensemble), and she also accompanies vocalists and string players, like her husband, cellist Karl Lavine.
“I can’t imagine not doing both [performing and teaching],” Boe said.
At 7 p.m. tonight in the Light Recital Hall of the Greenhill Center of the Arts, Boe will perform some piano pieces in her faculty recital. She will perform Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata, John Adams’ “Phrygian Gates” and some Chopin Etudes.
All students and community members are welcome and strongly encouraged to attend this event.
“The opportunity to hear the minimalist, fantasy-like composition ‘Phrygian Gates’ by American composer John Adams live in performance is rare due to its unique demands to the performer,” Boe said.